I wasn’t able to go home for the holidays as I had originally planned so instead of getting depressed about it, I decided to declare this week, my #weekoffun which included hanging out with friends, sightseeing, shopping and sleeping in.
Speaking of sightseeing, I thought I would write a second edition to being a tourist in India as I visited some more exciting places and have more tips to share.
I find trips from Connaught Place via auto rickshaw are always filled with interesting drivers. I attribute it to the fact that they have constant tourist patrons. I had a lovely Punjabi driver on my way from Starbucks to Humayun’s Tomb. He said he was happy to finally have a Punjabi speaking customer as it brought him joy to speak in his native tongue. So, I let him go on and on – mostly rants about people and his daily job.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend taking an auto from CP to go anywhere if you can help it, mostly because some auto drivers are paid commission based on if they recommend certain venues for shopping. Also, on top of that, most auto drivers will charge you double just because you’re “downtown”. Taking the metro is way more cost effective and convenient, especially if you’re a girl.
Bangla Sahib – Connaught Place, Delhi
Although I am not super religious, I do enjoy visiting Gurdwaras and various temples whenever I can. I always find these spiritual places to exude a sense of positive energy and calmness. It brings me a sense of peace as well. I would suggest avoiding weekends for religious or spiritual pilgrimages for obvious reasons. What I loved about Bangla Sahib is the shoe depositing system; it was extremely efficient. You give your shoes (and socks) in exchange for a shoe key tag. I brought along my big bag just in case there was a system similar to Lotus Temple. You cannot enter the temple without covering your head with a scarf or handkerchief. I was actually yelled by one of the Baptized Sikhs for wearing a cap. There is no photography allowed either, but I couldn’t help but sneak in a few shots. The “pond” has beautiful red, and orange fish that people stop to feed or glower at. Some people even stop to wash their face and hands in the water, assuming it is Holy. I did my praying but was sorely distracted; I hope that going was enough to get myself in the good books for 2014.
Humayun’s Tomb – Nizamuddin, Delhi
I didn’t realize that this was the pre-cursor to the Taj Mahal! I definitely recommend it as a must-see for Delhi. I was impressed by the geometry of the place, and the sheer size of the structure. The only issue I had was the fact that foreigners are made to pay 250 INR vs. Indians who only have to pay 10 INR. This is outright fleecing in the highest degree. In any case, it’s quite easy to get the Indian price. If you’re not Indian, you must go with someone who is and he/she will buy your ticket for you. If you’re Indian yourself, then just lay on a few words of Hindi or atleast a heavy accent and you’re golden. I know in my previous post I said I was tired of fort-like structures, but I was thoroughly impressed with this one! You can see the main structures in less than an hour, or spend a few hours roaming the entire property which is filled with gardens and adjoining tombs. You can go alone or with family. I would recommend comfortable walking shoes as some stairways are quite steep and paths uneven. I would also recommend taking a bottle of water and a snack as there are no places nearby for sustenance.
Have you visited Bangla Sahib or Humayun’s Tomb? What did you think?